Time Limits In Personal Injury Claims

Were you in an accident caused by someone breaching their duty of care to you? Did it result in you suffering an injury? If so, and you’re unsure how long you have to claim, this guide on the time limits in personal injury claims could help. 

This article will look at the duty of care you’re owed in different situations to help determine if someone was liable for the accident that caused you harm.

In addition, we’ll be exploring the compensation you could seek, and the evidence needed to do so. 

If you have any questions, our team is available to help 24/7. So please don’t hesitate to get in touch using the button at the top of this screen. 

Select a Section

  1. How Do You Prove A Personal Injury Claim?
  2. How Long After An Accident Do I Have To Make A Claim?
  3. The Claim Time Limit For Children And Those That Lack Mental Capacity
  4. Which Types Of Cases Does The Limitation Act 1980 Apply To?
  5. Compensation Awards In Personal Injury Claims
  6. Get Help Finding No Win No Fee Personal Injury Solicitors
  7. More Guidance On Personal Injury Claims

How Do You Prove A Personal Injury Claim?

If you’re reading this guide, the likelihood is you’ve suffered harm due to someone else’s failings. If so, you could make a personal injury claim to seek compensation for your suffering. 

However, the validity of your claim will depend on whether negligence has been determined. This process is done by looking at whether:

  • You were owed a duty of care.
  • Someone breached their duty of care
  • It resulted in you suffering harm 

Each of these needs to be established for you to seek personal injury compensation.

time limits in personal injury claims

What are the time limits in personal injury claims?

Additionally, you’ll need evidence to prove negligence occurred. For instance, you could use the following to help support your case:

  • CCTV footage of the accident
  • Photographic evidence of your injuries and the accident scene
  • Witness details 
  • Police reports, in more serious accidents

As well as these qualifying criteria, you also need to be within time to make a claim, which is why it’s important to be aware of the time limits in personal injury claims. We’ll discuss this further below.

If you require further details on evidence, speak to our team by calling on the number above.

How Long After An Accident Do I Have To Make A Claim?

The Limitation Act 1980 states that you have three years from the date the accident happened to issue court proceedings. Alternatively, the clock could begin to tick from the date you learned that someone’s failings caused you harm. 

As you’ll see below, if you’re unable to represent yourself, there are circumstances where someone else could claim on your behalf. 

For instance, a parent, guardian or solicitor could be eligible to apply to act as a litigation friend. The application will involve checking that there are no conflicting interests and that they’re competent to make decisions during the claim.

Additionally, there may be exceptions depending on your specific circumstances. See below to determine if any exceptions may apply to your case. 

The Claim Time Limit For Children And Those That Lack Mental Capacity

For children under 18, the three-year limit won’t commence until they turn 18. Up to this point, someone could be appointed as a litigation friend to act on their behalf. However, if no claim is made, the claimant will have three years starting from when they turn 18 to claim for themselves. 

Additionally, the time limit is suspended indefinitely for anyone who lacks the mental capacity to claim for themselves and is unlikely to recover. However, if the person does recover, they will have three years from the date of recovery. Whilst the three years are frozen, a litigation friend could put forward the claim for them. 

See the government website for advice on the duties of a litigation friend or speak to our team for further help and advice. 

Which Types Of Cases Does The Limitation Act 1980 Apply To?

The time limits in personal injury claims apply to various types of cases. For example, accidents at work, road traffic accidents or public place accidents.

The following sections will explore these in more detail. They will also look at how someone could be liable in certain situations, with reference to the legislation that sets out the duty of care a person may have to you.

Accident At Work Claims

The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 provides workers with protection and rights while employed by an organisation. It specifies that employers should do everything reasonably possible to ensure your safety.

If they don’t, they could be liable for the accident that caused your harm. This could include:

  • Your employer failing to keep your workspace free from clutter causing you to break your leg in a slip, trip or fall
  • A failure on the part of your employer to conduct regular risk assessments and maintenance checks on machinery and equipment
  • You suffering psychological harm due to your employer not taking action against the discrimination you were experiencing

Road Traffic Accidents

The Road Traffic Act 1988 and Highway Code regulate road users and ensure they act responsibly. The duty of care may vary for each road user, from drivers and cyclists to pedestrians and motorcyclists.

However, they all owe each other a certain level of consideration and should do everything possible to keep one another safe from harm while using the road. 

Below are some examples of accidents that could happen if they fail to do so:

  • A driver texting while driving and hitting another car from behind causing them to break their knee 
  • A passenger suffering whiplash in a side collision after another vehicle failed to stop at a junction 

The Whiplash Reforms has changed the way you could claim compensation for low-value injuries sustained in a road traffic accident. If this is something you’re looking to claim, our team can inform you of the changes in more detail. 

Public Liability Claims

A public liability claim may be made if the controller of a public place breached their duty of care to you. Some examples of public places within which an accident could happen include a cinema, gym, swimming pool, the local park, or a shop. 

However, the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 states that an occupier should ensure that anyone visiting the premises is kept reasonably safe. For instance, ensuring there are clear fire exits available to the public in case of emergencies. Or ensuring that no barbed wire hangs down dangerously from fences, risking someone cutting themselves.

In addition, they should carry out regular risk assessments to make them aware of any potential risks. Failing to do so could result in them being liable for the following types of accidents:

  • Someone suffering a crush injury to their chest due to the gym failing to repair faulty equipment
  • A child falling from a swing set and suffering a head injury due to the council’s failure to maintain the play area in the local park 

Compensation Awards In Personal Injury Claims

Compensation could comprise general damages and special damages. General damages will compensate you for the physical or emotional harm you suffered. They also take into consideration how the injuries may affect you long term. 

If you’ve suffered any financial losses both past and future, you may be able to claim these back under special damages. However, not every claim will have special damages. 

You will need to obtain different forms of evidence to build a concrete claim. For instance:

  • Medical records to show the extent of any injuries
  • Receipts and payslips for financial losses

Below is a table that details the compensation you could receive for your injuries. The figures are from the Judicial College Guidelines, which is often used to help value claims.

Injury AwardNotes
Back - minorUp to £2,300A full recovery made within 3 months
Neck - minor£4,080 to £7,410Full recovery made within 1-2 years. This category also relates to exacerbation or acceleration injuries between 1 and 2 years.
Arm - moderate£6,190 to £18,020An uncomplicated fracture of the forearm.
Shoulder - moderate£7,410 to £11,980Symptoms include frozen shoulder with limited movement and discomfort which could persist for up to 2 years.
Ankle - very severe£46,980 to £65,420Serious fracture with significant soft tissue damage. May be deformities or in some cases, below-knee amputation.
Elbow - severe£36,770 to £51,460An injury regarded as severely disabling.

If you require any further details on calculating compensation, speak to a member of our team using the number above.

Get Help Finding No Win No Fee Personal Injury Solicitors

If you want to access the help of an experienced personal injury solicitor, we may have a suitable option. 

A No Win No Fee agreement could help you evade the payment of upfront costs and costs that may build up while your claim is ongoing. Additionally, provided your claim is unsuccessful, you won’t need to pay solicitor fees.

If your claim succeeds, you’ll be asked to pay a small fee from your compensation award. However, you will be made aware of the fee before your claim goes ahead. 

If this is an option you’d like to consider, our team can provide further information. 

Additionally, they can assess your claim, and if they feel it holds validity can connect you with a solicitor from our panel who can provide further help and advice on the next steps. They can also offer concrete advice on the time limits in personal injury claims.

You can get in touch with our team using the button at the top of the page. One of our advisors will be happy to offer you free legal advice.

More Guidance On Personal Injury Claims

For any medical advice, see the NHS website.

Visit the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents for more information on road safety.

See the HSE website for statistics on non-fatal injuries in the workplace.